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October 18, 2011

MaJiyanCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine are recipients of a $1.7 million award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for infectious disease transmission research. 

Jiyan Ma, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry, and colleagues are interested in observing what causes a particular group of infectious agents, or proteins, to transmit disease. Specifically, the scientists are studying what causes the prion protein to form different strains that lead to the development of prion disease, a condition that affects the nervous system and impairs brain function. 

"Since no treatments currently exist, we want to understand the molecular mechanisms of prion strain formation and use that information to design molecules – create therapeutic tools – to disrupt and prevent the spread of this particular infectious agent that causes disease," says Ma, also a member of the Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration Study Section, Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health.                                            

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Contact: Sherri Kirk, College of Medicine Strategic Communications, 614-366-3277, or Sherri.Kirk@osumc.edu